Since adopting the six pillars as a focus and mission statement, the Council has written and solicited articles from volunteers and professionals alike about each of these pillars. Here at The Boy Scout, we have focused on one pillar each month and have published and shared articles accordingly. As we enter our third year of this initiative, we want to look back at the articles we’ve published and highlight the best content for each pillar.
January’s theme is Testimony: Be prepared by developing a testimony of Christ and of the gospel while doing our duty to God and our country. Here are the top five articles from The Boy Scout about how Scouting helps young men develop a testimony of Jesus Christ and the restored gospel:
Joel Hood shares his experience of gaining a testimony of the gospel as a Scout and as a First Lieutenant in the Marine Corps and how that testimony has sustained him. He encourages all Scout leaders to strengthen their own testimonies so they can in turn help boys do the same.
Favorite quote from the article: “The most important thing our young men—our Scouts—must be prepared for is to face a society of decaying moral values, remain strong in their faith in God, and be a strength to their families and their church. Failing to prepare the young men for the inevitable trials of conscience and integrity they will face is tantamount to throwing them to the lions. Developing a testimony of the Lord Jesus Christ is the only way a Christian man can survive and thrive in today’s world.”
Dave Pack draws on his experiences as a camp director and Scoutmaster to share how troop activities, done within the structure of a priesthood quorum, make boys living testimonies of the gospel. He shares the impact a senior patrol leader had on the other boys as he led scripture study each night at camp.
Favorite quote: “I spent the next several nights sitting outside their tent, listening to this troop of 12- and 13-year-old Aaronic Priesthood holders take turns reading from the scriptures to each other, teaching, and answering questions. I think I learned more than they did and I definitely cried more than they did. I was so grateful for an SPL that held Priesthood Keys and was inspired to encourage his quorum to add testimony-building experiences to a good camping program.”
Scott Major reiterates the central nature of Duty to God in the Scouting movement. Focusing on our duty to God first and always helps us see that everyone belongs to the same brotherhood, regardless of country, creed, or class. He quotes Bishop Gary E. Stevenson on the vital role Scouting plays in teaching boys to do their duty to God.
Favorite quote: “Young men learn to do hard things and when they stretch themselves to do hard things that they didn’t know they could do, they rely on a power greater than themselves. This power can be in many forms but as I look back on my own Scouting experiences I realize that the power to stretch and grow was given to me from my religious leaders, my Scouting leaders, my parents, my troop and crew, and my Savior.”
Brad Harris shows the importance of having a reflection at each activity to tie temporal challenges, lessons, and experiences to spiritual truths. He shares the experience of a bishop who held a reflection at the campfire after a high adventure activity. This reflection turned into a testimony meeting that inspired even the less-active boys and adults to bear testimony in sacrament meeting about their experiences.
Favorite quote: “It was so effective and the spirit was so strong there that after the campfire as we were preparing to retire for the evening, some of the boys hung around my tent and wanted to talk. These young men wanted to clear up some of their transgressions and sins they had committed. Right there in the woods we had sincere confessions. These confessions and discussions in the woods, created a new path for each of these young men that led to their mission calls a few months later.”
Dave Pack shares his experience as a bishop taking priests and teachers on a high adventure trip that challenged the boys physically, mentally, and emotionally. One boy in particular was ready to give up after persistent rain made a 25 mile backpacking trip even more difficult. He stuck with it though, and the spiritual lessons he learned changed his life.
Favorite quote: “Learning to do hard things doesn’t just happen. Sometimes it requires more; in this case, we had the tender mercy of a rainstorm that tested our resolve to finish. For Jared, the change from that experience came immediately upon overcoming the seemingly insurmountable challenge. For each of these Scouts, however, the most important outcome came as a result of this and a series of such experiences. Because of the testimony and confidence they gained in their youth, every young man from that teacher and priests quorum that participated went on a mission and was married in the temple.”
Have you seen Scouting help youth build their testimony of Christ? Tell us about it in the comments.
Author: Maria Milligan | Grant Writer, Utah National Parks Council, BSA.